Peek Into Our Week: Trim Healthy Mama (I quit sugar!), my love of essential oils, sewing, homeschooling, and a trip to Las Vegas

Peek Into Week
Kaitlynn and I have been working on some sewing and handwork projects together — thanks to the supplies and book generously sent to us by Abigail from Marie-Madeline Studio. We’ll be sharing more pictures and details on our projects in a post in a few weeks.

Peek Into Week

My first attempt at making Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes. These are not your typical pancakes — they have oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites as the base.

I had read rave reviews of them so I was so sad that my attempt was an epic fail. Leave it to me to somehow ruin a recipe with five ingredients!

Peek Into Week

But I’m not a quitter, so I tried again the next day. And it was a success!!

{I kept the batter in the fridge overnight and used the griddle instead of the stove top. Both things seemed to make a big difference.}

I topped these with a little Greek yogurt and berries and they are delicious!! I’m going to try making a batch for the freezer as I’ve heard that they are freezer-friendly, too!

Speaking of Trim Healthy Mama, some of you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve radically changed my eating over the last few months. After rave reviews from my sister and another friend, I decided to take the plunge and just experiment with eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama guidelines.

Truthfully, I figured I’d feel miserable and would hate eating this week. But I completely surprised myself when I actually felt great and found that I loved eating this way.

I held off on mentioning much online because I didn’t know whether I’d actually stick with it (going almost entirely gluten-free and sugar-free is a pretty MASSIVE thing for this former carb-loving, homemade-brownie-loving girl).

But I’m going on my third month of eating this way and I’ve (mostly) stopped craving carbs and sweets — except for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan — so I’d say it’s safe to say that there’s a good chance this is going to be a lifestyle change. Which is something I truly could have never believed was possible.

Y’all, if I can quit sugar, anyone can. {It feels so empowering to be able to say that!}

Peek Into Week

It’s hard for me to believe that my baby is in Kindergarten!! He’s loving school and just eating it up! {Excuse the mis-matched outfit… I think we need to have a week of classes on How to Match Clothes! :)}

Peek Into Week

These new essential oils that just came in the mail from Plant Therapy last week and we are loving them! I especially like that these are formulated specifically for kids and have directions on each bottle on how to properly dilute them for use. Look for a giveaway and review soon!

I’ve become a huge essential oil fan over the past year (my poor friends have been so patient with me as I’m often whipping out my traveling oil bag and saying, “I have an oil for that! Here just try this!” ;)), but I’m not partial to any brand specific brand. That said, I’ve found that Plant Therapy has a great selection of oils, the quality is good from what I’ve experienced and researched, and their prices are some of the best I’ve found anywhere.

{I just realized that I am sounding like a total crunchy weirdo talking about quitting sugar and essential oils in the same post. I’m afraid I am becoming that person I never thought I’d be… I promise I will draw the line at switching to cloth toilet paper, though. I have committed to my husband that I will never be that crunchy. Ever. Kudos to those of you who are, but a girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere! :)}

Peek Into Week

Last week, we had been planning for months to travel to North Carolina for me to hang out with a few of my dear friends (Kathi Lipp, Renee Swope, and Michele Cushatt) for a few days. But Michele’s dad passed away and instead the three of us were able to switch travel plans and go to Las Vegas instead for Michele’s dad’s memorial.

I was grateful for some unexpected quiet on a flight that turned out to be much longer than expected this morning. I savored a Club Soda (one of my current “guilty pleasures”) and read the entire pre-release copy of The Fringe Hours.

Peek Into Week

It’s hard to describe in words how powerfully impacted I was by the memorial service for Michele’s dad. It was the most moving memorial service I’ve ever attended!

From both of his children giving dynamic messages and tributes to their dad, the worship time, Michele singing and playing, four men leading us in a time of prayer… To see the legacy of a life well lived left me inspired and changed to go home and pour into my family.
Peek Into Week

These four women are some of the very dearest women I know. We flew in from four different time zones to love on Michele and celebrate the legacy of her dad. After the memorial service, Michele’s family invited us over to celebrate this wonderful man.

We laughed, we teased, we shared our heart, and we cried buckets of tears. And it was beautiful.

We ended the day with Dilly Bars — Michele’s dad’s favorite. It was so very worth breaking my no-sugar commitment for one day in his honor. :)

So that was a peek into the last two weeks of my life. How has life been at your house? Tell us what’s been going on in your home recently!

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5 Books I’m Reading This Week + What I Read Last Week

What I'm Reading This Week

If you noticed in August, my book posts were also noticeably absent. I did read some, but not at all as much as I was hoping to.

Since I feel like I’m living my life one week — or maybe even more like one day? — at a time right now, I decided to experiment with doing weekly book posts instead of monthly book posts.

This is an experiment. Therefore, it may fail or not work. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try! :)

This week, I’m reading:

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) — I’ve had this one started for quite awhile, and it’s good. It’s just deep and it’s taking me awhile to get through!

Made for More — I’m over halfway done with this book. I’ve been reading a little bit every morning as part of my morning devotion time. It’s been thought-provoking!

Essentialism — Michael Hyatt recommended this one and, so far, it’s been challenging and inspiring. I can’t wait to finish it and start implementing some of the principles!

The Cure for the “Perfect” Life — I started this one last week and am eating it up! I can so relate to the perfectionist tendencies they describe in this book and it’s an area that I’m really working on right now.

A Proper Pursuit — I’ve not started this book yet, but am hoping to have some down time this weekend so I can actually read a fiction book from cover to cover. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done that and I’m itching to just get lost in a good story!

The Mouse and the Motorcycle — We’re reading this aloud at lunch time and the kids are really enjoying it. It’s an easy read, but entertaining so far.

The Fringe Hours

Last week, I read:

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You — One of the perks of being an author & blogger is getting to read pre-release copies of great books like this! If you feel overwhelmed with life and can’t seem to find time to recharge your batteries, I wholeheartedly encourage you to pre-order a copy of this book.

I’ve long admired how Jessica manages to do so much, and yet still have time for things she loves — like hanging out with friends and family, scrapbooking, and blogging. In The Fringe Hours, she unveils her secrets to success and gives you the tools, tips, and techniques you can use to find time in your full schedule to refresh yourself and refill your tank, too. You can read more about this book here.

What are you reading right now? Any book recommendations for me?

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10 Goals For This Week {and why I’ve been AWOL when it comes to goal-setting!}

10 Goals For This Week

So, um, did you notice I’ve not posted any goals since July? That would be because I sort of went AWOL when it came to goal-setting in August.

But I do have some fairly valid “excuses” for taking a break from goal-setting:

  • We started the month of August with just getting home from a 5-day trip, we took a 12-day trip in the middle of the month, and I ended the month with a trip to Las Vegas for my friend’s dad’s memorial service. So it felt like we just plain weren’t home much in August.
  • We also started back to homeschooling and it’s our first year to have three different grade levels (5th grade, 3rd grade, and Kindergarten). The first two weeks were pretty brutal as we all adjusted. Gratefully, I feel like we’re starting to get back into a rhythm and routine again!
  • I started writing my next book and am on a tight deadline (The manuscript is due December 1. I had months to think through and map out the idea and outline, though, and am working with an amazing ghost editor, so it’s not as audacious as it sounds. But it’s still a pretty tall order!)
  • All three kids started a more rigorous fall activity schedule than we’ve done before: Kathrynne is on swim team, Kaitlynn is getting private ice-skating coaching + taking group ice-skating lessons, and Silas is on a soccer team. Each of them have 2-3 practices/games each week, as a result. I never expected our kids would be so involved with extracurricular activities, but since Jesse is home now, he is the one who is mostly in charge of these. All three kids are very committed and truly excelling at their chosen sport and we’re excited to encourage them in their interests and giftings. Plus, we’re encouraged by the character we are seeing them build as a result.

Because of these additions to our schedule, I felt like I just needed to make “making it through the month of August” my goal for last month. That’s just how you have to roll sometimes, right??

By the grace of God, I survived August in one piece and, after a few grueling weeks where I lost my patience more than I’d like to admit, we’ve rearranged some things in our schedule, I’ve re-adjusted my expectations, I’ve delegated more, and I feel much better. And I’m so very ready to get back to goal-setting!

This Week’s Goals:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Read 5 chapters of The Mouse and the Motorcycle aloud to the kids at lunch time.

2. Have a movie night with Jesse.

3. Write a love note to Jesse.

4. Work on decorating our house (finally!) with a generous friend who has offered to help me this weekend (because decorating is not my forte!)

Personal Goals

5. Work on reviewing and memorizing Romans 1 and Romans 2:1.

6. Finish reading I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), Made for More, Essentialism, The Cure for the “Perfect” Life, and A Proper Pursuit.

7. Run or exercise at least 5 times.

Business Goals

8. Work on an article to submit to a magazine.

9. Put together answers for an upcoming online interview.

10. Edit chapters 1-4 of my book manuscript.

How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week? I’d love to have you share your progress on last week’s goals and your goals for this coming week in the comments. Of, if you’ve blogged about it, leave your direct link below. Let’s cheer each other on to live purposeful and productive lives! You can download a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.

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12 Months to a Healthier You: September’s Challenge


Note: I kind of fell off the bandwagon with this series in August. My goal-setting post for this week (coming in a bit) will explain why. Thanks for your patience with me. I’m excited to get back to this series again!

One of my goals for 2014 is to focus on my health. It’s easy to let our health take a back burner to everything else on our to-do list. But as I share in my new book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, I’ve experienced what happens when you put your health last… and it’s not pretty!

With this in mind, I’m committed to making my health even more of a priority this year. And I’d love to have you join me for the 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge.

We’re be focusing on one challenge area each month — all with the goal of being in a healthier place as a person by the end of next year. My hope is that as we work on instilling one new healthy habit each month, they won’t just be month-long challenges, but lifelong changes.

12 Months to a Healthier You Focus Areas for 2014

Here are the focus areas I’ve planned out for 2014:

January: Exercise Regularly
February: Eat More Fresh Fruits & Veggies
March: Drink More Water
April: Cut Back on Sugar
May: Get More Rest
June: Create a Morning Routine
July: Read More
August: Go to Bed Earlier
September: Declutter Your Home
October: Cut Back on Caffeine
November: Keep a Gratitude Journal
December: Simplify & Say No

How This Challenge Works:

At the beginning of the month, I’ll introduce the focus area and encourage you to set a small goal for that specific area and I’ll share my goals.

Then, every Friday, I’ll have a check-in post where I’ll encourage you to share your progress & struggles and I’ll share mine, as well. If you want to blog about your progress, I’ll include a link-up at the end of the post so you can share your blog posts on this challenge.

In addition to the Friday check-ins, I’ll also probably share a few posts and guest posts on the monthly topics each month, along with sharing about related books, resources, or websites that I’ve found helpful.

Are you on social media? You can also share your progress on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter by using hashtag #12MonthstoaHealthierYou.

My Goals for Decluttering My House in September

My goal for September is to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour every week this month focusing on decluttering. I plan to share a post with my pictures and results of my decluttering each Monday this month.

Will you be joining me for this September Challenge? If so, leave a comment letting us know you’re planning to join and what your decluttering goals are — whether it’s an area of the house you plan to tackle or a certain amount of time you plan to spend. Remember to keep them simple and doable!

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Giveaways Galore

Of the 2,786 entries, the winners of the NOYAH Lip Care Set are:

Cheyenne (cheyenne.robertson@)
Amy (amyloves2coupon@)
Gretchen (gms6399@)
Lea (theendoftheroad@)
Trina (trigue4@)

Of the 1,540 entries, the winners of the $50 credit to Gabriel’s Good Tidings are:

Sarah (sekeil5@)
Emily (emily_katherine@)
Lindsay (lindsay.barnes@)
Sarah (sms2053@)
Emily (emilysdeals123@)

Of the 1,969 entries, the winners of the $50 Marie-Madeline Credit are:

Jenny (jenny_payne@)
Sherri (reeree821@)
Kathy (Kathybillstevenson@)
Tracy (tracymiller7@)
Lora (readingcoach@)

Of the 3,096 entries, the winners of the $50 Old Navy card from Ebates are:

Maureen (movinfl@)
Sandra (dix9san@)

All winners should have received an email with further instructions on claiming your prize.


Are you giving something away on your blog this week? If so, post your link below and let all the readers here know so they can get in on the action! Your giveaway must be family-friendly and no-strings-attached. In addition, to make it easy to navigate, your link must go directly to your giveaway post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your giveaway post will be deleted. Links left solely for the purpose of promoting an affiliate link will also be deleted.


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